Ryan James takes Exe Hammer honours for second successive year

PUBLISHED: 10:43 25 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:43 25 September 2019

Paddle boarders at the start of the 2019 Exe Hammer. Picture BAXTER BRADFORD

Paddle boarders at the start of the 2019 Exe Hammer. Picture BAXTER BRADFORD

© Baxter Bradford

The 2019 Exe Hammer Challenge saw 68 participants take part in the event, which began at Topsham and, 10km later, ended off Exmouth shore.

Action from the 2019 Exe Hammer. Picture: BAXTER BRADFORDAction from the 2019 Exe Hammer. Picture: BAXTER BRADFORD

Organised and run by local Watersports providers Edge Watersports, this year's event was made all the more challenging by the weather with participants contending with strong headwinds, choppy water and treacherous downpours.

Steph Bridge, world champion kitesurfer, and event organiser, said: "The Exe Hammer Challenge was once again a huge success.

"With over 60 participants competing in the race, it was great to see such strength, determination, and real teamwork evident on the day, despite the weather. Exmouth and Topsham are outstanding locations for watersports and we were delighted to see so many people take part. Here's to next year!"

Last year's winner Ryan James was equally impressive, despite the weather, and finished in a time of 1:18:47.

Second home, seven minutes later, was Chris Rashley and five minutes later Gary Charles crossed the line to take third.

Fourth home, and first female, was Marie Buchanan, whose inspiration performance should be celebrated, as she'd already paddled the whole course prior to the race!

In the most popular 'Round Nosed Board' class there was a tremendously close finish between Nick Tate and Adam Barnett, reversing last year's result.

Andy Rochester was only a few seconds later in third place, having been felled short of the line by Bernie and Ben Rhodes, who had paddled the course as a tandem.

First in the Women's 'Round Nosed Board' class was Rachel Dobrijevic, with Katie Ward and Claire Sargent completing the podium.

Special mention must be made to Tomasz Stefanski who perhaps embodied the spirit of the Challenge and day as the final finisher in a time of 3:23:50.

He crossed the line with a big grin and sense of pride on his face and really had earned his food and beer!

The prize-giving on the beach was well attended and thankfully the weather held. Next year promises to be even better as Sideshore Watersports centre will be open to provide a superb base.

The Exe Hammer Challenge was sponsored by Grenadier, Rockfish, Hanlons Brewery, Naish, ION, Pro Limit, and The Beach House Exmouth.

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